Thought for the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Thought for the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Catechism of the Catholic Church
III.  Only One Faith (#172-175)

172   Through the centuries, in so many languages, cultures, peoples and nations, the Church has constantly confessed this one faith, received from the one Lord, transmitted by one Baptism and grounded in the conviction, that all people have only one God and Father.   St Irenaeus of Lyons, a witness of this faith, declared:

173   “Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. . . guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth.”

174   “For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same.   The Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world. . .” The Church’s message “is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world.”

175   We guard with care the faith that we have received from the Church, for without ceasing, under the action of God’s Spirit, this deposit of great price, as if in an excellent vessel, is constantly being renewed and causes the very vessel that contains it to be renewed.”JESUS taught a new sacrifice - st irenaeus

From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus

“The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to His Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to His own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.   If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God.   Since we have our accuser, we need an Advocate as well.

And so the Lord in His pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having Himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins, bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit.   Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.”

St Irenaeus, Pray for us!st irenaeus - pray for us no 2 - 28 june 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Quote/s of the Day – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

“Our way of thinking,
is attuned to the Eucharist
and the Eucharist in turn,
confirms our way of thinking.”our-way-of-thinking-st-irenaeus-28 june 2018

“Jesus Christ, in His infinite love,
has become what we are,
in order that He may make us
entirely what He is.”jesus christ in his infinite love - st irenaeus - 28 june 2018

“It is not you that shapes God.
It is God that shapes you.
If then you are the work of God
await the Hand of the artist who does
all things in due season.
Offer Him your heart,
soft and tractable
and keep the form in which the artist
has fashioned you.
Let the clay be moist
lest you go hard
and lose the imprint of His Fingers.”it-is-not-you-that-shapes-god-strenaeus-28 june 2018

“As long as anyone has the means
of doing good to his neighbours
and does not do so,
he shall be reckoned a stranger
to the love of the Lord.”as-long-as-any-one-has-the-means-st-irenaeus-28 june

The business of the Christian
is nothing else but to be
ever preparing for death.the business of the christian - st irenaeus - 28 june 2018

“The universal Church, that is, the faithful everywhere, must be in agreement with this Church because of her outstanding superiority.”

the universal church - st irenaeus

“Being obedient she (Mary)
became the cause of salvation for herself
and for the whole human race.
The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied
by Mary’s obedience:
what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief,
Mary loosened by her faith.”

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202)being-obedient-st-irenaeus-28 june 2018 - no 2

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The INCARNATION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 28 June

One Minute Reflection – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church – Today’s Readings: 2 Kings 24:8-17, Psalm 79:1-5, 8-9, Matthew 7:21-29

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; deliver us and forgive our sins, for thy name’s sake!…Psalm 79(78):9

REFLECTION – “For this is why the Word became man and the Son of God became the Son of man – so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.”… St Irenaeushelp us o god of our salvation - psalm 79 or 78 - 9 - for this is why the word became man - st irenaeus - 28 june 2018

PRAYER – Grant us Lord, a true knowledge of salvation, so that, freed from fear and from the power of our foes, we may serve You faithfully, according to Your Word, all the days of our life.   Grant that by the prayers of St Irenaeus, we may always work for the truth, for unity and for love and peace.   We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God with You, forever, irenaeus - pray for us - 28 june 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY

Our Morning Offering – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Our Morning Offering – 28 June – The Memorial of St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

O Lamb of God
By St Irenaeus

O Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world,
look upon us and have mercy upon us;
You who art Yourself, both victim and Priest,
Yourself, both Reward and Redeemer,
keep safe from all evil
those whom You have redeemed,
O Saviour of the world.
Ameno lamb of god - st irenaeus of lyons - 28 june 2018

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, MARTYRS, PAPAL HOMILIES, SAINT of the DAY, VATICAN Resources

Saint of the Day – 28 June – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church

Saint of the Day – 28 June – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 135 – c 202) Father of the Church, Bishop, Theologian, Writer, Confessor, Defender of the Faith, Apologist.  St Irenaeus was born in c130 in Smyrna, Asia Minor (modern Izmir, Turkey) and is presumed to have been martyred in c 202 in Lyons, France.

Catechesis of Pope Benedict XVI on St Irenaeus of Lyon

General Audience, Wednesday, 28 March 2007

In the Catechesis on the prominent figures of the early Church, today we come to the eminent personality of St Irenaeus of Lyons.   The biographical information on him comes from his own testimony, handed down to us by Eusebius in his fifth book on Church History.a crash course on st irenaeus mem 28 june

Irenaeus was, in all probability, born in Smyrna (today, Izmir in Turkey) in about 135-140, where in his youth, he attended the school of Bishop Polycarp, a disciple in his turn of the Apostle John.   We do not know when he moved from Asia Minor to Gaul but his move must have coincided with the first development of the Christian community in Lyons, here, in 177, we find Irenaeus listed in the college of presbyters.   In that very year, he was sent to Rome, bearing a letter from the community in Lyons, to Pope Eleutherius.   His mission to Rome saved Irenaeus from the persecution of Marcus Aurelius which took a toll of at least 48 martyrs, including the 90-year old Bishop Pontinus of Lyons, who died from ill-treatment in prison.   Thus, on his return, Irenaeus was appointed Bishop of the city.   The new Pastor devoted himself without reserve to his episcopal ministry which ended in about 202-203, perhaps with martyrdom.snip - st irenaeus

Irenaeus was first and foremost a man of faith and a Pastor.   Like a good Pastor, he had a good sense of proportion, a wealth of doctrine and missionary enthusiasm.   As a writer, he pursued a twofold aim, to defend true doctrine from the attacks of heretics and to explain the truth of the faith clearly.   His two extant works – the five books of The Detection and Overthrow of the False Gnosis and Demonstration of the Apostolic Teaching (which can also be called the oldest “catechism of Christian doctrine”) – exactly corresponded with these aims.   In short, Irenaeus can be defined as the champion in the fight against heresies.

The second-century Church was threatened by the so-called Gnosis, a doctrine which affirmed that the faith taught in the Church was merely a symbolism for the simple who were unable to grasp difficult concepts, instead, the initiates, the intellectuals – Gnostics, they were called – claimed to understand what was behind these symbols and thus formed an elitist and intellectualist Christianity. Obviously, this intellectual Christianity became increasingly fragmented, splitting into different currents with ideas that were often bizarre and extravagant, yet attractive to many.   One element these different currents had in common was “dualism” – they denied faith in the one God and Father of all, Creator and Saviour of man and of the world.   To explain evil in the world, they affirmed the existence, besides the Good God, of a negative principle.   This negative principle was supposed to have produced material things, matter.

Firmly rooted in the biblical doctrine of creation, Irenaeus refuted the Gnostic dualism and pessimism which debased corporeal realities.   He decisively claimed the original holiness of matter, of the body, of the flesh no less than of the spirit.   But his work went far beyond the confutation of heresy, in fact, one can say, that he emerges as the first great Church theologian who created systematic theology, he himself speaks of the system of theology, that is, of the internal coherence of all faith.   At the heart of his doctrine is the question of the “rule of faith” and its transmission.   For Irenaeus, the “rule of faith” coincided in practice with the Apostles’ Creed, which gives us the key for interpreting the Gospel, for interpreting the Creed in light of the Gospel.   The Creed, which is a sort of Gospel synthesis, helps us understand what it means and how we should read the Gospel irenaeus glass detail snip face

In fact, the Gospel preached by Irenaeus is the one he was taught by Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, and Polycarp’s Gospel dates back to the Apostle John, whose disciple Polycarp was.
The true teaching, therefore, is not that invented by intellectuals which goes beyond the Church’s simple faith.   The true Gospel is the one imparted by the Bishops who received it in an uninterrupted line from the Apostles.   They taught nothing except this simple faith, which is also the true depth of God’s revelation.   Thus, Irenaeus tells us, there is no secret doctrine concealed in the Church’s common Creed.   There is no superior Christianity for intellectuals.   The faith publicly confessed by the Church is the common faith of all.   This faith alone is apostolic, it is handed down from the Apostles, that is, from Jesus and from God.   In adhering to this faith, publicly transmitted by the Apostles to their successors, Christians must observe what their Bishops say and must give special consideration to the teaching of the Church of Rome, pre-eminent and very ancient.   It is because of her antiquity that this Church has the greatest apostolicity; in fact, she originated in Peter and Paul, pillars of the Apostolic College.   All Churches must agree with the Church of Rome, recognising in her the measure of the true Apostolic Tradition, the Church’s one common

With these arguments, summed up very briefly here, Irenaeus refuted the claims of these Gnostics, these intellectuals, from the start.   First of all, they possessed no truth superior to that of the ordinary faith, because what they said was not of apostolic origin, it was invented by them.   Secondly, truth and salvation are not the privilege or monopoly of the few but are available to all through the preaching of the Successors of the Apostles, especially of the Bishop of Rome.   In particular – once again disputing the “secret” character of the Gnostic tradition and noting its multiple and contradictory results – Irenaeus was concerned to describe the genuine concept of the Apostolic Tradition which we can sum up here in three points.

a) Apostolic Tradition is “public”, not private or secret.   Irenaeus did not doubt that the content of the faith transmitted by the Church is that received from the Apostles and from Jesus, the Son of God.   There is no other teaching than this.   Therefore, for anyone who wishes to know true doctrine, it suffices to know “the Tradition passed down by the Apostles and the faith proclaimed to men” –  a tradition and faith that “have come down to us through the succession of Bishops” (Adversus Haereses, 3, 3, 3-4).   Hence, the succession of Bishops, the personal principle and Apostolic Tradition, the doctrinal principle, coincide.

b) Apostolic Tradition is “one”.   Indeed, whereas Gnosticism was divided into multiple sects, Church Tradition is one in its fundamental content, which – as we have seen – Irenaeus calls precisely regula fidei or veritatis –  and thus, because it is one, it creates unity through the peoples, through the different cultures, through the different peoples; it is a common content like the truth, despite the diversity of languages and cultures.   A very precious saying of St Irenaeus is found in his book Adversus Haereses:  “The Church, though dispersed throughout the world… having received [this faith from the Apostles]… as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it.   She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart and she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth.   For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same.   For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world” (1, 10, 1-2).   Already at that time – we are in the year 200 – it was possible to perceive the Church’s universality, her catholicity and the unifying power of the truth that unites these very different realities, from Germany, to Spain, to Italy, to Egypt, to Libya, in the common truth revealed to us by Christ.

c) Lastly, the Apostolic Tradition, as he says in the Greek language in which he wrote his book, is “pneumatic”, in other words, spiritual, guided by the Holy Spirit, in Greek, the word for “spirit” is “pneuma”.   Indeed, it is not a question of a transmission entrusted to the ability of more or less learned people but to God’s Spirit, who guarantees fidelity to the transmission of the faith.
This is the “life” of the Church, what makes the Church ever young and fresh, fruitful with multiple charisms.

For Irenaeus, Church and Spirit were inseparable:  “This faith”, we read again in the third book of Adversus Haereses, “which, having been received from the Church, we do preserve and which always, by the Spirit of God, renewing its youth as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent vessel, causes the vessel itself containing it, to renew its youth also…. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every kind of grace” (3, 24, 1).st irenaeus beautiful glass detail snip

As can be seen, Irenaeus did not stop at defining the concept of Tradition.   His tradition, uninterrupted Tradition, is not traditionalism, because this Tradition is always enlivened from within by the Holy Spirit, who makes it live anew, causes it to be interpreted and understood in the vitality of the Church.   Adhering to her teaching, the Church should transmit the faith in such a way that it must be what it appears, that is, “public”, “one”, “pneumatic”, “spiritual”.   Starting with each one of these characteristics, a fruitful discernment can be made of the authentic transmission of the faith in the today of the Church.

More generally, in Irenaeus’ teaching, the dignity of man, body and soul, is firmly anchored in divine creation, in the image of Christ and in the Spirit’s permanent work of sanctification.   This doctrine is like a “high road” in order to discern together with all people of good will, the object and boundaries of the dialogue of values and to give an ever new impetus to the Church’s missionary action, to the force of the truth, which is the source of all true values in the world.Irenæus_af_Lyon_Frederikskirken

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Memorials of the Saints – 28 June

St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130 – c 202) (Memorial)

Bl Almus of Balmerino
St Argymirus of Córdoba
St Attilio of Trino
St Austell of Cornwall
St Benignus of Utrecht
St Crummine
Bl Damian of Campania
St Egilo
St Heimrad
St John Southworth
St Lupercio
St Papias the Martyr
St Pope Paul I
Bl Teresa Maria Mastena
St Theodichildis
St Vincentia Gerosa

Martyrs of Africa – 27 saints: 27 Christians martyred together. The only details about them to survive are the names – Afesius, Alexander, Amfamon, Apollonius, Arion, Capitolinus, Capitulinus, Crescens, Dionusius, Dioscorus, Elafa, Eunuchus, Fabian, Felix, Fisocius, Gurdinus, Hinus, Meleus, Nica, Nisia, Pannus, Panubrius, Plebrius, Pleosus, Theoma, Tubonus and Venustus. Unknown location in Africa, date unknown.

Martyrs of Alexandria – 8 saints: A group of spiritual students of Origen who were martyred together in the persecutions of emperor Septimius Severus – Heraclides, Heron, Marcella, Plutarch, Potamiaena the Elder, Rhais, Serenus and Serenus. They were burned to death c.206 in Alexandria, Egypt.